Archive for the ‘Galapagos 2012’ Category

A Galapagos Journey, Day 15 – Saying Goodbye to Lonesome George

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas Eve!

Today marks the last of my guest blogs over at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog, where I’ve been sharing my experiences and photos with my husband, sister-in-law and brother-in-law onboard the Cormorant Catamaran with our Naturalist Guide, Harry Jimenez. Harry also owns and operates the Galapagos Eco-Lodge on San Cristobal Island.

On Day 15, we visited Lonesome George, the famous giant tortoise who was the last of his sub-species. A few weeks after our trip, George passed away, so we were among the last to see him.

To enjoy my stories and pictures about our last day in the Galapagos, head on over to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

You can visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

If you’re coming to this series of guest blogs late and you’re interested in finding out more about the Galapagos Islands, Harry’s blog is chockfull of information. I wish I’d had a resource like his at my fingertips when I was researching our trip. He has way more information than I could ever impart, because he’s an expert and I’m just a gracious (we like to think) traveler.

Again, if you’re coming to this series of guest blogs late, you can also view my travels in Ecuador, including time in Quito and at the equator, before we journeyed to the Galapagos, by glancing through the sidebar to your right, clicking Galapagos 2012 and then hitting “Older Posts” until you arrive at the first post in my archives. Okay, I’ll start you off. Click here to read my very first post and then you can move on through them (once you get to the page, you have to scroll down to reach the first post).

Aside from the first posts in my Archive, which mark our journey before entering Galapagos, the posts are the same as they are over on the Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog, except the pictures are larger. (Had to give myself a plug).

A Galapagos Journey, Day 14 – Floreana Island

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Floreana Island was a great surprise during my two-week cruise with Naturalist Guide Harry Jimenez, owner of the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog and freelance guide on the Cormorant Catamaran. We thought Floreana was all about visiting Post Office Bay, and that was wonderful. However, we also heard many fantastic stories and had a Pitch Dark experience visiting a underground cave that took us up to our waists in water. Loved it!

To share my stories and pictures, head on over to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

You can visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Only one more day left! See you next Tuesday…Christmas Eve.

A Galapagos Journey, Day 13 – Waved Albatross Heaven, Espanola Island

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Thirteen is my favorite number, for no other reason than it’s my birthday. And, on day 13 of our two-week journey aboard the Cormorant Catamaran with Naturalist Guide Harry Jimenez, I got an early (or late, depending how you look at it) birthday present at Espanola Island. Every April, the Waved Albatross return to Espanola to mate. It’s an incredible experience to see them with their mates, and my husband even saw an egg!

This was my favorite island during Week 2.

To share my stories and pictures, head on over to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

You can visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Next week, we visit a (nearly) underwater cave on Floreana Island.

A Galapagos Journey, Day 12 – Swimming with Sharks at Kicker Rock

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Okay, so they were Hammerhead sharks. Not likely to eat us. But, wow, talk about an amazing experience. If you’re visiting the Galapagos, you do not want to miss Kicker Rock!

Read all about my experiences with Naturalist Guide Harry Jimenez over at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

You can visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Only three more guest posts left!

 

A Galapagos Journey, Day 11 – Guest Blogging at Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Day 11 of our 2012 two-week cruise aboard the Cormorant Catamaran gave us our first glimpse of beautiful Kicker Rock, a swim at Pitt Point, and also a wonderful surprise about Witch Hill that is not to be missed! The mysteries of Witch Hill are awe-inspiring.

Pop on over to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog to read my stories and see my pictures.

Visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

A Galapagos Journey, Day 10 – Sante Fe and South Plaza Islands

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Okay, so the Tuesdays aren’t as bright and shiny anymore. It’s November! But join me as I transport you to a beautiful, warm paradise, the Galapagos Islands off mainland Ecuador, as we near the end of my two-week journey aboard the Cormorant Catamaran in 2012 with Naturalist Guide Harry Jimenez.

Day 10 featured Sante Fe and South Plaza Islands, which features vegetation and landscape that we hadn’t seen before. The Galapagos are very unique!

Enjoy my stories and photos over at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

Visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Next week, we encounter Kicker Rock for the first time!

A Galapagos Journey, Day 9 – Up to My Neck in Lava on Sullivan Island

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Ah, Tuesday, bright and shiny, just perfect for reminiscing about my two-week cruise aboard the Cormorant Catamaran in 2012 with Naturalist Guide Harry Jimenez, owner of the Galapagos Eco-Lodge on San Cristobal Island.

Day 9 featured a wonderful excursion to Sullivan Island, where I found myself up to my neck in lava and where my husband practiced snow angels on a human barbecue.

Enjoy my stories and photos over at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

Visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Next week, Sante Fe and South Plaza Islands.

A Galapagos Journey Day 8 Guest Blogging at Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

On Day 8 of my Galapagos journey, we said goodbye to several guests and another 8 joined us. We were officially on Week 2 of the cruise, with stops at North Seymour Island (Blue-Footed Boobies galore!) and Bachus Beach, where I saw a beautiful Blue Heron.

Enjoy my journey and photos over at the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog.

Visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Next week, I find myself up to my neck in lava!

A Galapagos Journey, Day 7, Guest Blogging at Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Another Tuesday, another kick-off to the Galapagos Eco-Lodge Blog, where I’m guest-blogging about my fabulous trip in 2012 aboard the Cormorant Catamaran with Naturalist Guide Harry Jimenez, owner manager of Galapagos Eco-Lodge on San Cristobal Island.

This week I’ll take you to Genovesa Island, my favorite island of all those we visited during Week 1. If you love birdlife, you’ll adore Genovesa Island. Read all about it and see pictures at my guest post.

Visit and like Galapagos Eco-Lodge on Facebook.

Next week, more Blue-Footed Boobies than you shake a stick at!

Galapagos, Days 20-21: Lonesome George, Long Travels

Monday, May 6th, 2013

There were those who doubted I would ever finish my Galapagos travel posts. Need I remind you that wrapping up these posts was one of my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions? And it’s only May. I think I did pretty good. In fact, today, the day this post appears, is the day we actually arrived back home in Canada. May 6, 2012. One would almost think I’d planned my year of posts this way, no? One would think I had that much foresight. That I am that clever. Or one might think something else entirely. I’ll leave what you think up to you.

Galapagos Cruise: Day 15

Ecuador Trip: Days 20-21

I switched around the headings just to keep you on your toes.

On the last day of our cruise, we had to get up super early because the flight home from Baltra Island left in early afternoon. I don’t know about you, but I have a tough time going to sleep when I know I have to catch a plane the next morning. It’s dumb, because not only did my husband have an alarm set on his Blackberry but Harry, our guide, woke us up every morning with an announcement over the loudspeakers. Harry was quite imaginative with his wake-up calls, and we smiled with sadness that this would be our last one.

When you’re on a Galapagos cruise, though, it’s unlikely that you’ll wake up, eat, and travel to the airport. There’s always something to do along the way. Whether you accomplish one or both visits on your itinerary depends on what time your plane is landing or departing. When we arrived on Baltra at the start of our cruise, it was late enough in the day that we didn’t have time to visit both sites on the itinerary. The same occurred the day we left. We had time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, but we did not have time to visit the Twin Craters, although we passed them on our way to the airport.

In all honesty, if you do a two-week cruise in the Galapagos and follow the same itinerary we did, by the time you get to visit Charles Darwin Research Station, it’s the third such visit and might not feel strictly necessary. We visited similar sites on other islands, during Week 1 and Week 2. But the Charles Darwin Research Station WAS home to Lonesome George, who was about 100 when he died on June 24, 2012, about six weeks after we saw him (we had nothing to do with it, I swear!). And visiting the icon was something we did not want to miss.

Here he is, in all his lonesome glory:

A lot of fuss was made about Lonesome George, because he was the last of his sub-species, also famous for not wanting to get jiggy with it with any of the female tortoises. In other words, George didn't make any babies once he was in captivity.

A lot of fuss was made about Lonesome George, because he was the last of his sub-species, also famous for not wanting to get jiggy with it with any of the female tortoises. In other words, George didn’t make any babies once he was in captivity.

Lonesome George was the last of the land tortoises found on Pinta Island. In 1972, he was transported to the Research Station to encourage mating with other, similar tortoises found on other islands. Alas, George would not have it. Meanwhile, another tortoise at the Charles Darwin Research Station, Super Diego, has been having babies out his whazoo (or the females’ whazoos) for several years. Hence the “Super.”

Apparently, Lonesome George did manage to impregnate a couple of females at some point, but the eggs were not viable. Lonesome was determined to remain Lonesome!

Bye-bye Lonesome George!

Bye-bye Lonesome George!

After seeing Lonesome George (during which one of my fellow travelers told me that I have “too much energy” – can you believe that, anyone who’s met me?), we boarded a little bus and headed back for the tiny ferry that would take us to Baltra Island. Then we boarded another little bus and went to the airport.

It was sad saying goodbye to Harry, because when you develop a rapport with your guide, he begins to feel like a friend, not “just” a guide. So there were many sad faces amongst our group as we left Harry at the airport. And, we were also sad that WE would be parting ways. There were many hugs, talking and laughing on the flight from Baltra back to Quito. First, we had to leave a lovely couple from Australia at the airport at Guayaquil. The rest of the party got off in Quito, but of eight of us who had become quite close during Week 2, only the Group of Four were actually flying home that night. Our flight wasn’t until 11 p.m. out of Quito, which isn’t the largest airport in the world. So when a couple from Ontario invited us to leave our suitcases in storage at the Quito airport and join them for dinner in a couple of hours, well, that seemed like a very good idea. Two other cruisers had massages booked back at their hotel, but when they found out the Group of Four was spending the evening in Quito, of course they dropped everything and came to see us!

The six of us went out to dinner, and although we were all exhausted by then and eager to get back to our respective homes, we had a lot of fun.

The Group of Four got up before 5 a.m. to have breakfast on The Cormorant and then go see Lonesome George. Our flight left Quito, like I said, at 11 p.m. at night. No sleeping was done in the interim. And we had to change planes twice before we finally arrived back in Canada on May 6th, 2012. Despite the exhaustion that long hours of travel brings, though, My Liege and I were both full of a weird energy those first couple of weeks after we arrived home. Yes, he got sick at the end of the cruise and had to miss the last excursion, and, yes, I got sick because he got sick, but I managed to wait until we arrived home. But the feeling of utter joy and freedom and happiness, when you are getting along with people and you have a fantastic guide and crew at your disposal, you’re exploring new islands every day and having amazing experiences…the Galapagos stays with you for a very long time. Even now, writing about it, I smile. Because I miss the Islands. I don’t know if I would ever want to visit again, because I know it would not be the same. However, one couple we met on Week 2, from Germany, were staying for two weeks, and their Week 2 was the same itinerary we’d had on Week 1…our trip with them was their second or third to the Galapagos. They just love it. I’ve also heard from others who have visited the Galapagos more than once that even if you follow a similar itinerary, it isn’t the same. You go at a different time of year, a slightly different route, and the people are different, the time of day you visit a site might be different. You might not get to see the Waved Albatross and you might not get to swim with young sea lions, but you will see baby sea turtles breaking out of their eggs and rushing down to the ocean (something we didn’t get to see because the eggs were still in the sand nests), and you might see more sharks and tropical fish and porpoises and pilot whales (the latter two which we didn’t see). Or you might island-hop instead of going on a cruise. Or you might take up diving and have a totally different experience than on a snorkeling cruise. It would be awfully tempting to go again.

If I won a mega-lottery, I would totally go again with my husband and take my sons and their respective S.O.’s along. In the meantime…

Gala_May5_Last

C’est fini!